So let’s face it, it’s tough being a millennial. This group of people, born in the 1980s or 1990s, have a lot of things going both for them and against them. They are generally very good mastering today’s technology, but their social skills are often lacking. This makes giving a good speech tough to do because speakers have to find ways to connect with their audience. So, if a millennial speaker can’t whip out their mobile phone and start texting everyone in the audience, how can they give a speech that will be remembered?
The Problem That Millennials Are Facing
Quick question for you: have you ever had this internal conversation: why meet someone when you can call them? Why call them when you can email them? Why email them when you can text them? Why text them when you can tweet them? Let’s face it, the younger you are the more likely you are to have this internal conversation daily. For many millennials (those people born in the 1980s or 1990s), the art of face-to-face communication seems archaic and outdated, since they can shoot off a text or tweet in a few finger flicks, or even connect with a group instantly via Facebook. However, it turns out that face-to-face communication is alive and well and is a critical part of giving a speech; if used correctly it can make your next speech stand out.
In studies, different generations have varying communication preferences. The younger generations prefer using high-tech device to connect while older generations prefer more high-touch techniques (aka face-to-face communication). Many of today’s speech planners are seasoned leaders who still prefer to connect in person before making decisions. Give yourself the best shot to succeed during your next speech by harnessing both the high-tech and high-touch communication approaches. I get feedback all the time that millennial speakers miss opportunities to connect due to their lack of offline connection skills. I urge to you find ways to become a “double threat,” that is someone who can connect quickly online and connect genuinely offline.
Note that this does not just apply to millennials. Older speakers need to understand that the pendulum swings both ways, and they may need to stretch themselves to become more agile in their high-tech communication abilities. For speakers offline communication can take a multitude of forms, such as one-on-one meetings, team meetings, conferences, parties, and impromptu connections in addition to live speeches. Each situation has its own ripe opportunity to make an impression and solidify a connection with your audience. You need to elevate your influence with the rules of face-to-face communication, which apply whether you are on the receiving or delivering end.
Rules For Communicating With An Audience
So, what does a millennial have to do in order to make sure that they can connect with their audience during a speech? The first thing that they need to do is to be prepared. A speaker need to understand that communication deserves forethought. Realize that giving a speech, face-to-face communication, has a purpose. Make sure that you spend time before such an interaction to gather your thoughts and establish your purpose and desired outcome. You can use apps to capture any necessary information both before and after the speech.
Millennial speakers need to learn how to be always be present. Communication deserves our full attention. Similar to when we are driving a car, if we allow our mobile devices to distract us, the likelihood of veering off course increases dramatically. Effective preparedness for giving a speech will help you stay on track. Establish strong eye contact with your audience. Silence your phone, and do not check it at any time during your speech – that would just be rude!
A speaker needs to be responsive. Your communication deserves your full participation. You can think of a great conversation being like a tennis match: the speaker serves up his thoughts and the audience reciprocates, back and forth, back and forth. But if you want to successfully hit the ball over the net, you must be paying close attention to every detail your audience’s body language. Add to your speech relevant questions, stories, analogies, thoughts or facts.
Millennial speakers need to learn how to be concise. Communication is best when it is brief. These days, audiences have more than they can handle, so be respectful and make sure to keep your speech succinct. Building rapport with an introduction can be helpful but limit it to less than five minutes. Put a time limit on the speech so you both can stay on point.
Finally, millennials need to understand that they need to be consistent. When you are giving a speech your audience wants to hear from the real you. Social media enables us to create alternative online personal brands that allow others to learn more about us. Before your next speech, many people will search for you online so they can size you up. Make sure that your online presence clearly communicates who you truly are. Remember that face-to-face communication resonates with your audience.
What All Of This Means For You
Different types of speakers have different ways of connecting with their audiences. Millennial speakers are the ones who seem to struggle with face-to-face communication the most. These speakers have no problems connecting with people offline; however, when it comes to giving speeches and interacting with audiences face-to-face, they can struggle. Millennial speakers need to understand what is required to make a good connection with an audience.
Millennial speakers need to understand that they need to be prepared when they show up to deliver a speech. Speakers need to be present and bring their full attention to their speech. Our audiences react to our speeches, speakers need to reach to how our audience is processing our speech. Nobody has enough time and so millennial speakers need to make sure that they keep their speeches concise. Millennial speakers have an identify that exists online and they need to make sure that it matches who they are when their audience meets them in person.
The reason that anyone gives a speech is to be able to make an impact on their audience. Millennial speakers have a real problem making this happen because they generally don’t have a great deal of experience with face-to-face interactions. If they can take the time to develop their face-to-face skills, then they will be able to give effective speeches.
Question For You: How can a millennial determine if they have good face-to-face skills?
Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Communicator Blog is updated.
P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Communicator Newsletter are now available. Subscribe now: Click Here!
Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!